Before we begin today’s journey, the biggest problem we have is that this is just a race from one day to the next. If you get to the end of the day when it is still light, you are so happy that you just go grab a beer with some friends and then have to stay up late or get up early to catch up on what else you have to do – like update a blog. Oh well, it will be over all too soon.
We stayed last night at Abant lake and when we arrived it was totally fogged in but this morning, while it was not clear, we could see what the place had to offer – and it was quite spectacular. Yes, that is snow across the way on the mountain side, there are real trees here and the lake is beautiful.
Oh yes, if you read the official itinerary, this is a “rest and transit day”. That means there is no timing and you still have to drive 352 kms but don’t have any start or finish time and we made the most of it. I managed to get the blog caught up (sorry about the delay) and Lloyd got some very well deserved sleep. We had breakfast and departed with me driving which meant the pictures for today would be limited – sorry.
Prior to getting on the motorway, we stopped for gas. I guess we bought enough (at $12 / gallon) to justify a car wash – or should I say pressure wash. The poor guy had to go over the car four times to get the mud off and even then we still have some in the remote corners.
The picture doesn’t come close to showing the mud we had collected (and might still be carrying in the far corners of the undercarriage. I would estimate we are about 100 pounds lighter now.
Today we crossed from Asia to Europe just north of Istanbul over this bridge – felt great to be one step closer to our destination.
We arrived at our hotel in Silviri (just west of Istanbul) to one of the most beautiful scenes you could imagine (especially after our last several weeks experiences) – this was the view from our room …
The hotel (the Klassis Resort) itself was just beautiful …
Since we are no longer in Iran, you can see that satellite TV dishes abound again – seems funny but that is how the world gets its news.
We were glad to see the mighty Itala outside the front door. The front wheels might wobble a little as David did not have the time to make a perfect repair as he might have wanted to but they are back in the rally with neither of them any the worse for wear.
I have mentioned our Turkish friends driving the Anadol on several occasions – they were doing the Peking to Paris rally to raise money for an educational foundation (in the same way we were doing this for Scleroderma) – well these guys were so well organized that they had models of their car made in plastic cases which I discovered in the back of a Land Rover – my guess is these are headed to auction for their charity – what a great idea.
Being that this was a rest day, everyone took the opportunity to perform major or minor maintenance of their cars. Fortunately for us (actually Lloyd), this was only an oil change and lubrication as well as checking the suspension.
Apparently the word was out to the Automobile Club of Turkey as a throng of people descended on the parking lot around 5 pm.
One gentleman brought his daughter who has fallen in love with Cadillacs – he explained that he has a number of European cars in his garage but she likes his Cadillac best so what could we do but try to reinforce her preference toward American cars – besides, she was very cute.
Turned out that they also brought with them some beautiful cars of their own – in this case a 1959 Chevrolet with a 348 cu. in. engine – what a combination and a beautiful restoration.
And a 1956 Ford Thunderbird – just two of well over a dozen beautiful American cars …
What we learned in the parking lot was that these same folks (the Turkish Automobile Club) had arranged a wonderful cocktail party that evening for us and it was spectacular – complete with entertainment.
And who should be there other than Tim Scott who we haven’t seen for a few days – rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. This man always has a smile on his face – amazing …
And of course since there were a few speeches made, we also had a few words from Phillip Young. The fact is that he has done a fabulous job putting together a rally that has crossed 8 countries so far, many of which do not receive visitors well, kept 100 cars running and dealt with 200 + type “A” personalities – not as easy assignment. While many people on the rally have issues with Phillip’s approach to some things, proper credit is due him for putting together an unbelievable event.
And oh yes, the times and standings have finally been updated. We are now 6th in our category and 2nd in our class. If you enlarge the scoring sheet below, you will see that Lloyd was second fastest in all categories in all three time trials yesterday only to an Aston Martin DB4 which has a lot more power and a lot less weight than we have. I told you Lloyd was fast – many here were amazed at his times.
And finally, the two fastest guys in the trials yesterday – Lloyd on the left and Andrew Honeychurch who was driving the Aston – we’ll see who’s car lasts the longest.
Another busy day tomorrow – we cross in to Greece, drive 595 kms. and have 3 Time Trials – oh yes, and we are another day closer to Paris.